It's a new year so, of course, it's time to starting talking about The Road to the Kentucky Derby. As always, the Kentucky Derby will be held on the first Saturday in May (that's May 5, 2018) at Churchill Downs.
The race is limited to 20 horses, but how is it determined which 20 horses will enter the starting gates? Since 2013, the starting horses have been determined by a points system based on their performance in certain races before the Derby in the United States, Europe and Japan. While most of the eligible races are held this year (while the eligible horses are three-years-old), some horses have already accrued points through some eligible races last year (when they were two-years-old).
The biggest races in the points system will be held in March and will be worth 100 points to the winners. These include familiar races like the Florida Derby, Bluegrass Stakes, Wood Memorial and Arkansas Derby,
There are three races with points on the line this month. McKinzie earned 10 points for his victory in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Park last Saturday. The Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct and the Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds this Saturday as well as the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Monday have Derby points on the line.
The current Kentucky Derby points leader is Good Magic (24 points) followed by McKinzie (20 points), Bolt d'Oro (14 points) and Solomini (14 points).
For more information on the Kentucky Derby points system and leaderboard, go to https://www.kentuckyderby.com/horses/prep-races.